Disclaimer: None of our reviews are sponsored. We earn a commission when you purchase items through our links.
A small shop vac will allow you to clean up as you work while reducing dust and debris around your area without being too big and bulky.
But with so many reputable brands available, how do you know which one is best?
Buying the wrong shop vac can lead to frustration as it can’t perform how you need it to, and it can leave you out money if you have to buy a new one.
Our top five picks gives you suggestions on the best small shop vacs available from high-quality suppliers for any budget or space constraints you may have.
Here's 3 products we picked out that thought you would be interested in depending on your budget...
On this page:
Best Small Shop Vacs with Reviews
Here's a list of the best Small Shop Vacs we found on the market:
1. DEWALT DCV581H Small Shop Vac
- Can operate on a cord via an A/C outlet or cordless via Lithium-Ion batteries.
- Equipped with a fully integrated, crush-resistant five foot hose.
- HEPA-rated to trap up to 99.97% of particles down to .3 microns.
- Comes with on-board storage to make transport easy.
- Features a very small, lightweight, and compact design.
- Cord wraps around the top
- Wet/dry filter
- Sturdy tank clip
- Doesn’t have powerful suction
- Battery doesn’t last an hour
- Repairs are expensive
The DEWALT DCV581H is a higher-end shop vac that offers the convenience of being powered by both Lithium-Ion batteries or plugged into an outlet. The compact and lightweight design makes it a great choice for anyone who has to clean multiple areas, and the tank has a thick plastic clip to lock dust in.
The HEPA-rated filter will pick up 99.97% of dust particles and microns down to .3 to keep your air clean, and the filter itself is washable and reusable to save money. The five-foot hose allows for an extended reach, and it’s crush-resistant for added durability.
Any professional woodworker or tradesman would benefit from having the DEWALT DCV581H on-hand to keep up during and after a job. Not only does this shop vac come from a reputable brand, but it offers a lot of convenience and flexibility for the price. If you have a big cleanup planned or want to improve your air quality, it will perform to the highest levels while making transport easy with on-board storage.
2. Shop-Vac 5989300
- Has a stainless steel five gallon tank for excellent durability.
- Comes with several useful accessories like extension wants and crevice tools.
- Maneuverable full circumference dolly fits into tight areas.
- Has top and side handles to make traveling easy and quick.
- Features a three-year warranty from the date of purchase.
- 3 year warranty
- Blower feature
- 175 CFM
- User concerns over the tool holder
- Difficult to pinpoint your vacuum in the manual
- Replacement bags are expensive
The Shop-Vac 5989300 is a good investment if you want a portable and powerful shop vac that’s slightly more affordable. It’s durability makes it a great buy because it’s built to last. The 4.5 HP motor is robust enough to create a decent suction for larger jobs while giving you excellent control.
The top and side carry handles enhance the shop vac’s portability factor, and it comes outfitted with several accessories like a gulper and floor nozzle, filter bag, foam sleeve, and extension wands. The seven foot hose helps extend your reach into all areas of your workshop.
Any part-time contractor or someone who likes to tackle projects themselves can benefit from adding this compact but powerful shop vac to their arsenal. The blower feature helps you get rid of debris by flipping on a switch, and the onboard accessory storage keeps everything neat and tidy between uses. The 320 peak air watts can help your cleanup process go smoother while saving your body from fatigue and cramping.
3. Vacmaster VP205 Mini Shop Vac
- Foldable top handle
- Crevice tool and brush head included
- Works for wet/dry mess cleanup
- Exhaust vent blow forward
- Weaker 2.5 HP motor
- Plastic design isn’t as durable
The Vacmaster VP205 is a sensible choice if you’re looking for a small and inexpensive shop vac to use around the house that is very budget-friendly. The lightweight and compact design makes it a good purchase. It can handle both wet and dry messes without clogging or breaking.
The shop vac converts to a blower to help get debris out of your shop or garage, and the eight foot power cord gives you great maneuverability. There is a foldable handle to make moving this vacuum around easy, and the accessory storage keeps all of the pieces together and organized.
If you’re a DIYer who likes to tackle small projects, you want to seriously consider buying the Vacmaster VP205. If offers the best value in terms of price while coming from a very well-known brand. If you have a few small jobs lined up around your home or you find yourself cleaning up small messes after your family, the two gallon tank is large enough to accommodate you.
4. CRAFTSMAN 17612 Small Shop Vac
- Has an extra-long 20 foot power cord for excellent reach.
- Large dust-sealed on/off switch provides great control.
- Outfitted with several accessories like a combo utility brush and crevice tool.
- The large rear wheels provide stability and support.
- Storage compartment below the vac keeps accessories organized.
- Swivel caster foot for maneuverability
- Seven foot hose
- Simple assembly process
- Lower amperage motor
- User concerns about onboard storage
- Hose is thin
The CRAFTSMAN 17612 small shop vac is a great mix of useful features, power and affordability. The 5.0 HP motor provides adequate suction, and the large on/off switch gives dependable control. It has a unique design and features that go beyond the price point.
The three wheels with the swivel caster on the front give the shop vac maneuverability and flexibility, and the large plastic latches keep the tank firmly in place. The accessory storage on the bottom of the vac keeps everything out of the way until you need it for an added convenience.
Contractors and tradesmen should take a look at the CRAFTSMAN 17612 if you’re considering adding a new small shop vac to your toolkit. The Craftsman brand is very reputable, and it offers a great value. The host of accessories and extension wands increase your cleaning capabilities, and it performs well in small and medium jobs. The 20 foot cord wraps neatly around the shop vac for easy and convenient storage and a hassle-free use.
5. RIDGID VAC3000 Compact Shop Vac
- Centrally located power switch
- Seven foot hose
- LED nozzle to clean dark areas
- Dust bags are expensive
- Concerns about tight tank seals
- No brush accessory included
The RIDGID VAC3000 is a great pick if you’re looking for a very small vacuum to clean out your car or a small area with dark spaces. The LED light on the nozzle ensures you get everything, and it has several other nice features that make it an good buy.
The ergonomic handle with the centrally-located on/off button gives you excellent control and a comfortable grip that won’t cause cramping or fatigue. There is a built-in suction dustpan that funnels your dust and messes into the bag inside the tank for easy cleanup.
Any amateur DIYer will want to consider buying the RIDGID VAC3000. It has solid reviews, and it comes from a company known for putting out long-lasting products. If you have small cleaning projects to do around your home or in your car, the collapsible hose will help you reach every crevice. The Qwik-Lock filter is easy to change to bring the suction power back up, and the small design can help your cleanup process go smoother, especially in tight areas.
As you do before you make any serious purchase, there are several important factors to consider. When it pertains to small shop vacs, remember the following:
What performance level do you need?
The term peak horsepower gets thrown around a lot with shop vacs, and it means how powerful the motor output is. You have to look at the sealed air pressure rating, or the suction. Usually, this will have a measurement of inches of water, and 75 and up is high-quality.
Cubic feet per minute (CFM) rates your shop vac’s maximum airflow. For fine dust or debri pickup, a shop vac needs a higher CFM rating. Finally, air watts or air power tells you how much heavy stuff your shop vac will pick up. The higher the number, the heavier debris it’ll suck up.
What size/length hose do you need on your shop vac?
Think about what you’ll use your small shop vac for the most. Will you clean up after projects, and what type of debris will you mainly pick up? Shop vac hoses usually start at 1.25 inches and go up to 2.5 inches. The wider your hose is, the bigger debris it’ll suck up. The longer the hose, the more it’ll reduce your suction power.
Choose the Correct Filter
If you pick the wrong filter for your small shop vac, it’ll send dust and dirt back out into the air instead of trapping it. For larger debris, make sure your shop vac has a general household filtration system. Fine debris will need a fine filtration system, and medium debris will need a medium filtration level or better. If you need to suck up wet debris, putting a foam sleeve over your filter will help prevent it from clogging. HEPA filters are great for allergy sufferers to help clear up the air in the immediate vicinity.
A big draw of smaller shop vacs is their portability, and their size and weight will play a large factor. The lighter weight and more compact the shop vac is, the easier it is going to be to carry around when you use it. The shop vac should have an ergonomic handle, and you want the tank size to match your needs. A slightly larger tank will be a must for bigger projects.
Wrapping it up
Here is what we firmly believe to be the best small shop vac available on the market. No matter your skill level or why you may need it, we’re positive this is the right one for you.
Taking all of the important points into account, we say that the DEWALT DCV581H is the clear winner of our roundup. It has the highest price out of all five choices, but for good reason.
It’s the only shop vac on the list that runs both corded and cordless, and it has a HEPA-rated filter to trap 99.97% of particles down to .3 microns. The on-board storage will keep you organized, and the five foot hose makes reaching everywhere easy.
Other Shop Vac Guides
Shop Vac Reviews – Best overall
Vacuums for Dust – Top rated models
HEPA Filter Shop Vacs – Best models